Monday, October 18, 2010

Learning top down construction

Firstly I have been powering through my tangled yoke as I am in the stockinette portion and I felt like some simple knitting. As I said before, I actually knitted the garter rib for 5 1/4 inches then began the pattern in stockinette according to the rows of the pattern. This will make the cardigan nice and long which I will love. I also adore the drape and feel of the fabric, it is light and will definately be a warmer weather cardi, which was my goal. I think I prefer the slightly looser knit fabric as opposed to the tightly knit, but we'll see how well it sits when finished. Isn't the color gorgeous!
I spent last night reading the book "Knitting from the top down" by Cathy Carron. Not a fan of any of the projects, they are definately outdated, but I found that the information in the book on how top-down construction works, how to add shaping (which I already kinda knew), how to calculate sleeves and how to do various collars was fabulous. I had that 'light bulb' moment when all of a sudden the top-down method made perfect sense and seems quite simple.
I have knit top down before, but I could never figure out how the calculations worked, how to calculate the beginning stitches, how to seperate them for front, back and sleeves, or how to figure out the increases for the yoke. But now I get it! I'm hoping to use this method and calculations to amend patterns so that I can make the sweaters/ cardigans more simply, but also out of the yarn I want and the needles I want. Being in Australia (as opposed to USA where most patterns originate from) we mostly use 8ply (dk) yarn as opposed to 10ply (worsted). This means that many patterns I want to make need many alterations as not only do I not prefer thicker yarn, but it is harder to find, whereas 8ply is everywhere!
My first aim is to make myself a top-down jumper, long and fitted, with 8ply smoky gray and black stripes. I want it to be a perfect fit. Unfortunately the book didn't cover v-neck design, but I have located a few other sources which should help. Although, now that I understand the construction, I think I can figure it out on my own. I am going to have a think about how to do the increases for my bust though, I want it to fit well without the loose fabric under the bust, but I'm not sure I want to do short rows in the stripes. Thinking about just adding the increases on the front, so the back doesn't get baggy either, that happened last time. Too much fabric on the back so it didn't quite sit right. Maybe darts are the way to go. Oh well, more research!

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